Regain your rhythm!


What separates humans from most other species is our multifaceted internal neural system which sets our mobility apart from all. The science of human movement is a complex one, and often research in accordance to it during situations such as strokes or hindrance of any kind of movement, draws to no conclusion because of this very complexity. The nervous system is like a house of cards, with the whole structure at risk of collapse with one mishap. But if taken into control gives birth to beautiful art forms, one of these being the art of ballet.


A ballet dancer uses her entire body and all of her muscles in hours of rehearsal and performance. The motor skills required for ballet dancers are flexibility, balance, jumps, leaps, and turnout. It helps us understand what movement is all about- how we control our limbs and posture, and most importantly what role our brain plays in controlling all of this? How is it exactly that our body and mind possess the ability to morph our body into performing rhythmic and coherent movement patterns? Ballet helps us not only achieve this but synchronise this with music to create poetry in motion. Therefore, it is but natural to draw parallelism to this and use ballet as a methodology to answer the questions anatomy poses to us.


As we go into further analysis into these questions, we can use the answers to understand how to relearn and recover the skills for patients who have lost some amount of mobility, as well as those suffering from any kind of neurological injury. These results can even be mimicked to ensure smoother movement in robotics and bring them close to our own human self. As Dagmar Sternad of Northeastern University has said, “There’s still a lot to be learnt about what it takes to control a multi-link system to get close to what humans can do”. The university, to deeply understand human balance control, the balance ability of ballet dancers is analysed by measuring their joint motions, their ground reaction forces, muscle activity, and the forces they exert on each other by making them walk on narrow beams placed on force plates, to understand how the centre of mass of bodies shift. Limb motions are also recorded by motion capture cameras using small reflective markers. Science is yet to understand what it is that really makes the smoothness and elegance of movement so aesthetically pleasing, so this research does the work backward to break down the very act of it and then begin the processing.


Sharanya Mathur

sharanya mathur

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